Walking Our Faith: Brush your teeth and read the Bible
Walking Our Faith
I sometimes get mad at God. Not for something he has done but for something he has not done, which I, in my infinite wisdom, felt he should have. Of course, my wisdom is not infinite; it’s actually pretty limited. And God‘s wisdom is infinite, which means I often don’t understand things from his greater perspective.
That doesn’t stop me from getting mad at God because I am human and was created with free will. And God, in his infinite wisdom, never wanted to deny me the freedom to make mistakes and learn or, more often, blame him for the outcome of my poor decisions or shortsighted vision of how things should be right now.
Because I share my world with others, all of whom think their way is the right way, and because our differing opinions will frequently come into conflict, mostly out of fear, we have as many angry people as we have happy people.
As a result, we have a lot of people who look to God and ask, “How can I believe in you when this world is such a mess or when my life is such a mess? Why don’t you step in and do something, God? Why do you feel so far away when I need you most?”
I felt that moment of desolation earlier this week. I sat in my car and cried. The tears streaming down my cheeks told me it was a big deal cry. That is when I was angry with God.
Bear, my Newfoundland dog, is determined to turn me into a morning person to help me keep my new habit of morning prayer on Monday and Wednesday, and 8 a.m. Mass on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. So Bear wakes me up at 5:30 or 6 a.m.
He pretends he wants to go outside for his morning constitutional. But after I open the door, he saunters out to enjoy the cool air. Giving up hope of returning to sleep, I make coffee and sit in my big chair next to the fireplace to begin my morning prayers or head back upstairs to get ready for Mass.
These aren’t successful new habits. They have become daily practices I look forward to. Through them, I’ve realized the difference between knowing God and loving God.
It is the love I discover on quiet mornings when I read God’s words in the Psalms or hear God speak through the Gospels during Mass. I have fallen in love with God, and I don’t want a life without him. How am I to reconcile this love with life in an imperfect world and unanswered prayers?
In a 1958 article, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy a palace and Christ a cross, but that same Christ arose and split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. Yes, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. There is something in the universe which justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying, ’Truth crushed to earth will rise again.’” — The Gospel Messenger, “Out of the Long Night”
Sometimes that slow arc seems too much to bear, and my unanswered prayers feel like they will break my heart or break my spirit.
But then I recall God’s word and how it has made my life more meaningful. And when I think of my life without God, I don’t want that life.
I believe this is a decision we face each day: To pursue God and understand he is always pursuing us. That relationship will be found when we make time daily, even for five or 10 minutes, to read the Bible and pray.
This is where a meaningful relationship with God begins. When we take personal responsibility for our spiritual lives and put at least as much time into it as we do brushing our teeth.
Things will still go wrong, and we will still find ourselves on occasion sitting in our car crying. But in those darkest moments, I promise you that the spirit of God, which is love, will be present, and we will find the strength to begin again.
I’m reading through the Gospels this year. This week I’m reading the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapters 26-27. Please join me!
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ’Take and eat; this is my body.’
“Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ’Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’”
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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